The Longest Running Sci-Fi Series Is Finally Streaming for Free
After years of waiting, you can now dive into the archives of a sci-fi institution.
“Lost media” is becoming a more and more prevalent term as streaming services wipe entire series from existence, making them completely impossible to watch, even for digital purchase. But the concept is not new at all. Now, there’s an expectation that whatever show you want to catch up on is at your fingertips. But before the internet, you were limited to reruns.
There’s no greater example of this than Doctor Who, the longest-running sci-fi series in TV history. The show has been running for 60 years, and yet there are countless fans who haven’t even seen all the episodes that still exist. However, that’s all changing now.
In celebration of Doctor Who’s 60th anniversary, Tubi is making all of “Classic Who,” the adventures before the 2005 reboot, available to watch for free. Here’s why this is unprecedented — and why you should tune in.
Tubi now includes more than 600 episodes of the series, which used a “serial” format, telling a single story over multiple episodes. However, not every story is available. The pilot episode, “An Unearthly Child,” isn’t streaming on Tubi, probably due to the rights holder’s dispute with the BBC. (That episode is still streaming on BritBox, however.)
Far more episodes are gone due to the BBC’s “junking” policy, which led to dozens of episodes being retaped and deleted. Thankfully, there are efforts to lessen the impact of the lost episodes. Tubi also features animated recreations of some adventures, meaning you can still keep up with the story.
While you can catch up with current-day Doctor Who without the “Classic” era, every Doctor Who fan should dip into the archives to see where it all started. Not only are they glimpses into another time, but there are aliens and villains in these episodes who would later come back in “New Who,” like the Zygons, the Silurians, and the Sea Devils. The Toymaker, a villain from a lost 1st Doctor episode, is even coming back in the form of Neil Patrick Harris in one of the 60th-anniversary specials.
Every episode of classic Doctor Who is notable, whether it’s because the episode is timeless and is just as exciting today, or because it’s a fascinating time capsule of low-budget science fiction. But if you’re more interested in the former, you should definitely check out “The Genesis of the Daleks,” which was even mentioned in the recent Doctor Who Children in Need short “City of Death” and “The Caves of Androzani.”
Whether you’re a new fan looking to find out just where Doctor Who began or an old fan who wants to revisit the heyday of 4th Doctor episodes airing on PBS, you’ve got no paywall stopping you from traveling in time without the need for a TARDIS.